A Slovenian, an American, a Dane, three Britons, a Russian, a Colombian and… two French. For the less international, the general classification published at the end of the sixth stage of the Tour de France 2022 places for the first time since the start in Copenhagen, two representatives of France in the Top 10. Which, it must be to admit it, did not seem won in view of a course for which David Gaudu and Romain Bardet did not really have the job. There is a wink to note in the fact that the two French climbers are now in ambush even as the Tour arrives in the mountains, however average, with the Super Planche des Belles Filles this Friday.
At the start of this 109th Tour de France, France officially only has one cartridge for the general, David Gaudu therefore, since Romain Bardet strives to repeat that he is only aiming for the stages even though his attitude, and its DNA, tend to suggest otherwise. Both have avoided the many pitfalls since Copenhagen. “I’m really apprehensive about the first week of the Tourexplained the latter to the magazine Pédale before the start. After this week, out of the fifteen candidates for the Top 10, I bet five will have ‘jarred’. Days on small roads, a bridge of thirteen kilometers exposed to the wind, the curb, then the cobblestones.”
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In fact, the Bardet prophecy was confirmed. Primoz Roglic lost two minutes on the cobbles, Ben O’Connor four, Rigoberto Uran has already lost time and Jack Haig even gave up. But he, who was apprehensive, got through, to the point of finding himself first tricolor overall one second ahead of Gaudu, one minute behind Tadej Pogacar. “It is sure that the week went rather well.appreciates the Breton, third at Longwy this Thursday. The team did a huge job. It’s only pleasure, only happiness.” To see his smile on arrival in Arenberg on Wednesday, we understand that Gaudu feared a lot these first days.
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“It’s really tomorrow (Friday) that it will count. We have to focus on that, stay focusedhe tempered Thursday. It will be necessary to be ready, in the legs and in the head. We’ve been focused for a week but we mustn’t let go” Same story on the side of Bardet, also pointing to the traces that will leave these first days: “I think fatigue is starting to set in with the cobbles and today was anything but a transition day.” Swallowed at an average speed of nearly 50 km/h, this stage was indeed anything but a picnic on the eve of the first expected test.
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We’ll see who will be able to play with Pogacar in the final
The Tour enters, as often since 2012 and the discovery of the Vosges climb, in the mountains by the Planche. The Super Board even with this stone path in (poisoned) icing on the cake at the top. A bad memory for Bardet who had lost a big minute there on his opponents for the general in 2019, even experiencing a mechanical problem when crossing the line. That day, Gaudu began his immense work for Thibaut Pinot by leading the group of favorites, finishing the ascent 18 seconds ahead of Bardet.
“We hope everything will go well. We will do the accounts tomorrow, it’s a new Tour de France that beginsnotes the Breton who still sees Pogacar above the lot. He has already won today. He may want to win on Friday. […] The fact that Pogacar has the jersey doesn’t change anything, it’s so hard to finish… We’ll see who will be able to play with him in the final.” In excellent puncher that he is, Gaudu can also very well digest the 24% slope close to the line.
A comfortable climber on longer efforts, Bardet will probably be more in defensive mode. As such, since La Planche, whether Super or not, does not quite correspond to it, its final result will say more about its form and its intentions than its communication in recent days. “We will seehe breathes in a grin of anticipated pain. First time to the top, gonna be interesting to see.” Interesting and informative.
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